Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sprrrringtime in the Rrrrrrrockies!

(With a fond nod to an African Gray Parrot in the old bird show at the San Diego Wild Animal Park who used to trill the song...)

Late March and all is well here. The sun is strong and melts the snows more quickly, which is how you can tell it's spring as opposed to winter. ;) Actually the days have warmed up considerably and I've been in shorts a few times (school kids on the playground were begging the monitors for sunglasses to protect them from the glare, but I just ignored them.)

I'm also discovering that I can plant cool-season seeds now and their seedlings do just fine under the snow, as do pansies in flower, so my gardening jones is fed. Steve's helping me dig and build new beds and I'm picking up up a truckload of mushroom compost the first week in April, so I'm a happy farmer girl. I'm tending onion sprouts (an experiment -- I know onion sets are inexpensive and a big head start on the season, but I wanted to see if I could grow them from seeds), as well as tomatoes, broccoli and peppers sprouts, and I have a few pots of cantaloupe seeds clustered by the woodstove to jumpstart germination. Willow has planted a bunch of flower seeds in pots, for she wants a flower garden this year. And I have about 30 new strawberry plants that I potted up from bare root and they are already flowering! I'll put them in one of the new beds in another week or two. Oh, and I have seed potatoes ready to plant and I've been cleaning up the raspberry patch and replanting emerging shoots that are coming up in the walkway, so the patch is expanding, for free! Even though the snows continue and so will the frosts for another six weeks, you really can start gardening/farming anyway.

Nexus is still chugging along, despite the economy, which is good. Steve is courting his creative muse and really enjoying the projects she suggests to him. He has build a small letter press from scratch, and a light exposure box to create plates and has been immersed in creating his own letter-press artwork. He's also found an antique letterpress in need of much rehabilitation that he's going to buy. He's working up quirky art to sell on Etsy, either as prints or t-shirts.

Willow seems to be sticking with her new name and she's had her own creative blossoming, with new styles and medium for her artwork, as well as venturing into animation and continuing her creative writing. Harry's found a new homeschooled friend in town who plays on the same Lego-inspired online building game and they talk on the phone or on Skype as they play together. We've had many fun playdates with best friend Luke, another unschooler, and even hit a parkday down with the Boulder unschooling group (where Harry left his boots, ensuring that we will need to return soon to retrieve them from the Mom who picked them up for us.)

Harry and Steve went to the local homeschool group's tour of the engineering department at Colo State University here in town, where the dean of the school asked how many 50-pound kids would it take to equal the 150,000 pounds of pressure a piece of equipment was exerting on a segment of concrete in the materials lab, then told the homeschooler who correctly answered that he was wrong and gave a botched answer himself. He undoubtedly was thinking the equipment was exerting a different pressure than it was, but there was no opportunity to correct him as he barrelled on in his talk. How many times does that happen in a classroom every day, I wonder? We all make mistakes, of course, but the authority figure who brooks no questioning is not conducive to unfettered learning.

In other domestic news (that is my world, pretty much, at the moment), the chickens are laying really well, which is a relief to me. I was afraid they'd slow down dramatically and I'd have to either carry them as noisy lawn ornaments for the next five years or consider culling them. We got our kitty spayed yesterday, and she's napping on my lap as I type. She lost her purr for about half a day, but she's feeling better now. What an absolute love she is.

I'll update with photos of the garden as we finish the beds and get more planted. Happy Spring!

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